Monday, May 13, 2013
The Empty Chair
Since my mother's passing January 9th, I've been grieving for the loss of my best friend. In the book, The Empty Chair, Handling Grief on Holidays and Special Occasions, is a lovely memorial...
for anyone who has recently lost a loved one. I hope it brings comfort as it did for myself and family members on Mother's Day.
A CANDLE LIGHTING MEMORIAL FOR THOSE WHO ARE GRIEVING
An important part of the grief process is to pay tribute to and remember on this special occasion the one who has died. This memorial tribute is designed for use with four candles, arranged either in a circle or in some other manner in keeping with your own personal taste. This tribute can be used alone by an individual or in a small family setting.
As we light these candles, we remember Gerlinda, who was important to us. On special occasions and holidays past, you created a wealth of memories with us. We are mindful that a significant change has occurred with your death. You were so special to us, and now you are no longer here. How we wish you could return. We feel an empty place in our hearts and lives that had been filled
with your presence. Now we grieve for all that had been--all that used to be with you--and all that we did not want to end. The harsh reality that you will never again share a holiday or this special occasion with us is painful to acknowledge. We agonize and grieve for you. We know in doing this that we will slowly heal. But we will never forget you and how you enhanced our lives and contributed to what we have become because of you. Therefore, these four candles honor your presence on earth. We light one for our love for you, another for our memories of holidays or special days past, another for our grief in the present, and one for our hope for the future.
As we light this first candle, we are warmed by our love for you and the love we shared together. You hold a treasured placed in our hearts and minds as a person we laughed with, argued with, perhaps at times were angry with, and yet someone we could reconnect with and feel close to. You gave us joy in the relationships we shared with you. Thank you for sharing your life with us.
This second candle represents our memories of holidays or special days past--the traditions we created together, the things you did to add to the uniqueness of the day. We thank you for the gift your life brought to our lives. We created meaning for the holidays and special days together. Now that you are dead, the traditions will never be quite the same. There remains an unfilled place--an empty chair--because you are no longer with us. We need to say good-bye to the possibility of things being the same and recognize that with your death our lives will be different. Thank you for contri-
buting to our wonderful memories of meaningful holiday celebrations.
We now light the third candle, which represents the grief we experience as we contemplate living the rest of our lives without you. We treasure the fond memories, but we understand that we no longer have a relationship with you beyond those memories. You have left this world, and we are left in this world without you. We resolve to find ourselves complete in and of ourselves. You are in a better place; we will make this place better for ourselves as you would have wanted. We will find the courage to persevere in the work of grieving so that we confront our sorrow and move through the pain to the other side of grief.
The fourth and final candle we light signifies our hope for the future. We resolve to start again--to feel new life surging through our hearts. We will go through the fire and the pain, but eventually our mourning can turn to dancing. There will be a new beginning, the start of a new volume in our lives. This new beginning may be muted and unclear right now, but with work and trust and hope, the sun will again be bright.
For you, mother, the person who graced our lives for a time, and for our hope for the lives ahead of us, we light these four candles in your honor and with our hope.